How Do You Prove a Slip and Fall?

A slip and fall can lead to serious pain and suffering for a victim. Common injuries from a slip and fall include broken bones, lasting back and neck issues, and concussions. While some falls are accidents, many slip and fall injuries are due to a property owner’s negligence.

If you or someone you know suffers a slip and fall injury, a negligent party may owe you compensation for your medical expenses and other damages. To hold a property owner responsible for a slip and fall injury, you must prove their negligence by carefully documenting the incident.

This process is not easy when you’re still recovering from your injury, so contact the Syracuse slip and fall lawyers at Catalano Law to guide you. We know exactly what evidence to collect and how to interact with insurance companies, the police, and the property owner while protecting your best interests.

Determining the Negligent Party

Slip and fall injuries are personal injuries that fall under “premises liability.” This means that the property owner of the fall’s location may be responsible for your injuries if they didn’t do enough to keep the property safe for visitors. If the property owner is found to have been negligent and their negligence resulted in your slip and fall injury, they must pay for the damages you suffered.

The process of proving a slip and fall is similar for all types of property, but there are some legal differences. In all cases, immediate legal action is preferable, but especially in slips and falls on government property, such as public sidewalks.

While you normally have three years from the incident to file a slip and fall lawsuit in New York, a claim for an accident on government property must be filed within 90 days.

The requirements to prove a property owner’s negligence are also different depending on if the property is public, private, or commercial. An experienced slip and fall lawyer from our law firm will keep all these nuances in mind when handling your case to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Document Your Slip and Fall

Immediately after your slip and fall, it is essential to document the scene. The goal of the documentation is to prove that the cause of the slip and fall was dangerous conditions the property owner should have been aware of and failed to address before your fall.

To successfully recover economic, non-economic, or punitive damages in a New York slip and fall lawsuit, you must:

1.    Prove there were dangerous conditions

Dangerous conditions are determined on a case-by-case basis, but some conditions commonly qualify. Snowy and icy walkways, missing handrails, and potholed walkways are dangerous conditions. Pictures, videos, and eyewitnesses to the incident can prove that the property had hazardous conditions.

After the fall, collect any witnesses’ contact information and get in touch with them soon after the incident, while their memory is still fresh. Take photos of the ice, pothole, or other dangerous condition that caused your fall.

It is also vital to report the incident to the property owner and the police. This solidifies that their property had a dangerous condition and can help prove they should have known about it. It also establishes a record of exactly when the injury occurred.

2.    Prove the property owner knew about the dangerous condition

There are two ways to prove the property owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition that caused your injury. “Actual knowledge” is the legal term for when the property owner knows about the danger, and “constructive knowledge” is when they should have known about the danger.

You and your lawyer can use depositions to acquire proof of actual knowledge or build a case for constructive knowledge. You will also have to prove that the property owner did not sufficiently remedy the dangerous condition.

It can be challenging to gather enough evidence to prove a property owner knew or should have known about the hazard. Getting a personal injury attorney to represent you gives you the best chance at acquiring this proof.

3.    Prove the owner’s negligence led to an injury

The final step in getting compensation for your slip and fall injury is proving that the property owner’s failure to address the dangerous condition caused your injury. This is where a paper trail of medical records and paystubs helps your case.

Doctors’ notes and medical bills prove that your injuries caused you financial damage. If you cannot work or you get laid off because of your injuries, keep official employment documents because those lost wages can be part of your compensation.

Contact a Syracuse Slip and Fall Lawyer Today

A slip and fall case can be long and complicated. It is nearly impossible to navigate alone when recovering from your injuries. Fortunately, our Syracuse slip and fall lawyers are available to fight on your behalf.

At Catalano Law, our attorneys understand the stressful situation you’re in and are ready to help. Contact us for more information and a free consultation.

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